Istanbul is in North Western Turkey and is commonly known as the ‘bridge’ that unites the Eastern and the Western parts of the world. Istanbul is a transcontinental city that straddles both Europe and Asia. The financial and commercial part of the city is found in Europe, while two-thirds of the city’s actual population resides in Asia. This “separation” gives the city a unique feel to it and it has become a place where cultures mix, becoming something new, and where tradition and innovation meet face-to-face.
Until 1930 the city held two names: Istanbul and its historic name of Constantinople. In 2012 it was declared a European capital of culture and is the world’s fifth most popular tourist destination. Architecture, cuisine and history are some of the things about the city that attract travellers.
The city’s most popular attractions are found in the historic centre, much of which are World Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO. Many visitors to this area visit Topkapi Palace, the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the Walls of Constantinople.
Istanbul has numerous traditional and modern shopping centres and is famous for its Grand Bazaar, which is among the world’s oldest and largest covered markets. The Grand Bazaar is a must see for anyone visiting Istanbul, even for those not planning on buying anything, as its historic atmosphere and constant buzz is its true appeal.
Many visitors to the city enjoy a boat trip down The Bosphorus, a narrow, natural strait which forms the boundary between Europe and Asia. Offering a unique experience to view the historic monuments and beautiful skyline of the city from the water.
Istanbul is well served by public transport with buses, trams, a metro system, funiculars and boats. The majority of tourist attractions in the old town are accessible easily by foot.
Istanbul offers a unique experience full of contrasts. Enjoy its rich history, melting pot of cultures, dynamic nightlife, vibrant cuisine and historical sites and monuments for an unforgettable experience.